Body of Canada man missing for 18 months recovered in Nevada

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 01, 2012 9:31 PM
Body of Canada man missing for 18 months recovered in Nevada

By Laura Zuckerman

(Reuters) - The remains of a Canadian man who got lost in the Nevada wilderness 18 months ago have been recovered seven miles from where he became stranded with his wife while relying on a GPS device to navigate, authorities said on Monday.

Hunters looking for elk in the rugged mountains of northern Nevada on Sunday discovered the body of Albert Chretien, 59, who left the couple's van on March 22, 2011, to seek help on foot, Elko County Sheriff's detective Jim Carpenter said.

Chretien and his wife Rita were using a GPS device for navigation during a trip from their home in Penticton, British Columbia, to Las Vegas when their van got stuck in the mud on a primitive road near the Idaho-Nevada border.

Rita Chretien, then 56, relied on melted snow and a meager supply of snacks until she was found by hunters seven weeks later.

The incident prompted authorities to warn travelers in the Western United States not to rely on technology such as GPS for navigation.

Carpenter said authorities had recovered the body about 7 miles from the site where the couple was stranded and 8 miles from the nearest town. The body bore no visible signs of injury.

Carpenter said cold temperatures and 10 feet (3.3 meter) of snow had blanketed the high country when Albert Chretien sought to hike out carrying a hand-held GPS device. Authorities also recovered his backpack, which contained sunflower seeds.

"Not being completely outfitted for a trek like that, the exposure probably got him," Carpenter told Reuters.

After her rescue, Rita Chretien said she survived by reading the Bible and by rationing trail mix, candy and fish-oil capsules.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Philip Barbara)